Shadow Exercise


Shadow Exercise


This exercise will help open up the hidden depths of your creative self.

It can also be used to begin the journey of self discovery.



Describe a person you strongly dislike.

Long Version

  1. For this exercise you need paper and a pen.
  2. Now bring to mind someone who you really strongly dislike, or someone who has a lot of behaviors that drive you crazy and make you angry.
  3. Make a list of all the things about this person that you do not like. Be very specific about which things about them or their behavior bother you.
  4. When you have finished, draw a box around this list.
  5. In large letters, label this box “My Shadow.”
  6. Consider that all the characteristics you have written down represent a hidden, unconscious part of yourself. This is a part of yourself that you hate, fear, or otherwise dislike for some reason.
  7. Think about how many people around you demonstrate these shadow characteristics you have described. You may be surprised!
  8. It is often the case that we attract into our lives people and situations that have these shadow characteristics that we dislike. This is because the shadow is a disowned part of yourself that contains important parts of your overall, whole personality.
  9. Sit for a moment, and consider if there is a way, through art or writing or some other creative expression, that you can express this disowned, suppressed part of yourself. The shadow is where the power and creativity in your soul lives!


The concept of the shadow was first elucidated in this form by psychologist Carl Jung.


Shadow work can sometimes be quite difficult or intense. If you want to do deep shadow work, it is recommended that you do so with the help of a Jungian therapist.


Because the shadow represents a repressed part of our own unconscious self, it is very common for the shadow to appear in dreams. Nightmares, dreams of monsters, killers, demons, etc., are often simply the shadow appearing in its most disturbing disguise. If this is the case, do some dream tending with the image.

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